Tweetbot 4 is out and it has brought some long awaited changes to Tweetbot on the iPad. The app now matches the visual style of iOS 7–9, which means a flatter overall look with no faux textures in sight. This has definitely removed some of the original charm of the app because the graphics were what gave Tweetbot such a unique “bot” appearance, but there are some remnants of that personality in the sound effects, animation, and of course, the icon.
I’m also happy to see that the profile view is as good as ever, highlighting follow status, follower counts, and recent media (a feature I haven’t seen in any other Twitter app I’ve used). Tweetbot 4 is also a good iOS 9 citizen and supports things like Split View, Slide Over, and quick replies within notifications.
The app is unapologetic about being an entirely new purchase ($5 now, $10 when the launch sale ends), so you’ll have to pay for this upgrade even if you own the previous versions for iPad or iPhone. I’m totally fine with this approach, as I’d like to keep my favourite developers around by paying them with money.
Tweetbot 4 is also universal, so updates will hit all iOS devices simultaneously from here on out. This should keep the iPad version from lagging behind its iPhone counterpart, as it has these past two years.
What I like most about Tweetbot 4 is the great use of columns, which harkens back to older-school iPad Twitter apps. In the early days of the iPad a lot of apps were still playing around with layouts and the information density within apps, and it’s good to see Tapbots shaking things up. Tweetbot in portrait mode closely resembles the official Twitter app layout, with settings on the left side and content on the right.
Landscape mode adds a third column to the app (which also shows up on the iPhone 6S Plus) that can be customized to display Activity, Stats, Mentions, or any of your customized Twitter lists. I love this extra column, and so far I haven’t felt limited by the fact that it’s only one extra column, unlike the lines of columns you can create in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
I am a little confused by the inconsistency of the controls between columns, though. I like swiping on tweets and seeing the animations in the main column, but swipes don’t work at all in the side column. Tapping on tweets brings up a restrictive modal view, which seems to work against the core principle of the multi-column layout: lots of live info with the ability to tap anywhere.
That’s a fairly minor niggle for me right now, though, and overall I’m really excited by what Tapbots have done with Tweetbot 4. I’ve always enjoyed using Tweetbot the most on each of my iOS devices, and it’s great to have a universal version from here on out.